How life imitates chess: making the right moves, from the board to the boardroom
One of the most highly regarded strategists of our time teaches us how the tools that made him a world chess champion can make us more successful in business and in life.
Garry Kasparov was the highest-rated chess player in the world for over twenty years and is widely considered the greatest player that ever lived. In How Life Imitates Chess Kasparov distills the lessons he learned over a lifetime as a Grandmaster to offer a primer on successful decision-making: how to evaluate opportunities, anticipate the future, devise winning strategies. He relates in a lively, original way all the fundamentals, from the nuts and bolts of strategy, evaluation, and preparation to the subtler, more human arts of developing a personal style and using memory, intuition, imagination and even fantasy. Kasparov takes us through the great matches of his career, including legendary duels against both man (Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov) and machine (IBM chess supercomputer Deep Blue), enhancing the lessons of his many experiences with examples from politics, literature, sports and military history.
With candor, wisdom, and humor, Kasparov recounts his victories and his blunders, both from his years as a world-class competitor as well as his new life as a political leader in Russia. An inspiring book that combines unique strategic insight with personal memoir, How Life Imitates Chess is a glimpse inside the mind of one of today’s greatest and most innovative thinkers. Garry Kasparov became the youngest ever world chess champion in 1985 at the age of 22. He retired from professional chess in March 2005 to found the United Civil Front in Russia, and has dedicated himself to establishing free and fair elections in his homeland. A longtime contributing editor at The Wall Street Journal, Kasparov appears frequently in the international media to talk about both chess and politics. Garry Kasparov was the highest-rated chess player in the world for over twenty years and is still widely considered the greatest player that ever lived. In How Life Imitates Chess Kasparov distills the lessons he learned as a Grandmaster to offer a primer on successful decision-making: how to evaluate opportunities, anticipate the future, devise winning strategies. Kasparov recounts his victories and his blunders, both from his years as a world-class competitor as well as his new life as a political leader in Russia. He relates all the fundamentals, from strategy, evaluation, and preparation to the subtler, more human arts of developing a personal style and using memory, intuition, imagination and even fantasy. Kasparov enhances these lessons with examples from politics, literature, sports and military history. "His insights are thought-provoking and possess more value than the bromides of so many business books. 'Why did I move my bishop?' may be a question with more lessons for success than 'Who moved my cheese?' In the course of this lesson-giving, Mr. Kasparov touches on many of the most famous moments of his career, including his series of matches against Karpov from 1984 to 1990 and his battles with the Deep Blue chess computer in the 1990s. As a chess player, Mr. Kasparov was more than just a world champion. How Life Imitates Chess provides more evidence that he was, and still is, a great chess intellectual . . . If life truly does imitate chess and Mr. Kasparov somehow overcomes the Russian establishment to reach the summit of his new profession, his latest move may have been a winning one for himself, his countrymen and the rest of the world."—Wall Street Journal
"[Kasparov] makes his debut as a management guru. If retired jocks can write inspirational books, I see no reason to exclude retired chess luminaries from the field of management advice, and executives will find Kasparov’s prescriptions useful."—Roger Lowenstein, Portfolio
"[Kasparov] draws extensively from history, philosophy, art, science, sports, and general culture. He intersperses references, across the intellectual spectrum, from and to the likes of Lao Tzu, Charles Darwin, Marcel Duchamp, George Washington, Franz Kafka, Jack Welch, Michael Jordan, and, of course, Vladimir Putin, his chief political adversary. The result is a volume of cogently packaged lessons . . . It's clear from this enjoyable offering that the champion's gifts are not confined to the chessboard and those same qualities are now to be employed at making the planet a more livable place. Probably, nobody else has all of Kasparov's special skill sets. Yet, after reading How Life Imitates Chess, with its solid advice to follow one's own path, it's easy to see how the road to personal growth and eventual fulfillment might suddenly come into view, sharp and focused."—Bruce Pandolfini, Chess Life
"It's very rare to have a window onto a unique and fascinating strategic mind. It's even more rare to receive a set of very specific, pragmatic ideas to enhance your own game, and your own business success. Garry Kasparov provides you with both, in a totally accessible, highly engaging, one-of-a-kind volume."—Adrian J. Slywotzky, Director of Oliver Wyman, and author of The Upside
"Kasparov is no stranger to success, having become the world's youngest World Chess Champion in 1985 at the age of 22. Using anecdotes from his 20-plus-year chess career, he offers his 'secret,' namely, that you must 'become conscious of your decision-making processes' and use that awareness to adapt constantly and improve your business and personal performances. Organized into three broad sections outlining fundamentals (strategy and tactics), evaluation and analysis, and their combination, the text is both coolly logical and engagingly personal. There is no particularly flashy advice here, but the use of the chess metaphor (opening gambit, middlegame, endgame) by one of its grandmasters lends authority to Kasparov's exploration of such traits as strategizing, imagination, aggression, and confidence. Of particular interest is a chapter exploring 'material, time, and quality' and how these three factors must be balanced to achieve specific objectives . . . this engaging book will add depth to business collections in academic and public libraries alike."—Sarah Statz, Library Journal
"A business manual by the champion-turned-activist . . . The book is serious, readable, and offer[s] real insight."—Publishers Weekly
What people are saying - Write a review
Nice book that nicely draws the parallels between life and chess. However often builds on examples from non-chess world - and, that's a bit annoying.
Review: How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the BoardroomUser Review - Denise Spicer - Goodreads
An interesting read by a famous chess champion turned politician. This book is full of anecdotes from his life and examples from military history to the business world. Read full review